In Syria, Christians once lived a relatively peaceful life.
When the Civil War came, however, that life was threatened as their neighborhoods turned to battlefields and terrorist groups like ISIS engaged in a brutal tug of war for territory and power.
Bloodshed, terror, and death have led many in Syria, not just Christians, to flee the country. To date, over 11 million Syrians have left their homes.
Some are still displaced, some sit in refugee camps, and some have made it to countries that agreed to take them in.
The United States, on President Obama’s order, was slated to take in 10,000 of the refugees who were fleeing Syria. And with 10,801 refugees now in America, we have now exceeded that target.
Yet, some Americans are crying injustice when it comes to just how many Christian refugees America rolled out the welcome mat for.
The Obama administration hit its goal this week of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees — yet only a fraction of a percent are Christians, stoking criticism that officials are not doing enough to address their plight in the Middle East.
Of the 10,801 refugees accepted in fiscal 2016 from the war-torn country, 56 are Christians — or .5 percent.
The reactions to the numbers has been quite strong:
POTUS stiff arms Christian genocide victims but opens floodgates for Muslims: Of 10k Syrian refugees 56 Christian https://t.co/gWAcrDG56d
— Paul Chitwood (@DrPaulChitwood) September 3, 2016
While one person asked why the religious affiliation of the refugee should matter:
It’s not clear how the U.S. decides which refugees to take in. However, earlier this year Secretary of State John Kerry declared that Christians, Yazidis, and Shiite Muslims were “victims of genocide” by ISIS.
As far as the refugees the U.S. accepted, 10,600 are Sunni Muslims, 17 are Yazidi, and 20 are Shiite.
With only 56 Syrian Christians being admitted into the country, it’s not difficult to see why members of one of the oldest religions in the Middle East — who are in fear for their lives every day — might feel like America’s leaving them behind.